Skip to main content
Log in

The Boundaries of Manners: Ritual and Etiquette in Early Confucianism and Stohr’s On Manners

  • Published:
Dao Aims and scope Submit manuscript

Abstract

Early Confucian philosophy affirms and lends support to Karen Stohr’s argument that manners are a primary means by which we express moral attitudes and commitments and carry out important moral goals. Indeed, Confucian views on ritual can extend her insights even further, both by highlighting the role that manners play in cultivating good character and by helping us to probe the conceptual boundaries of manners. The various things that we call etiquette, social customs, and rituals (all of which the Confucians saw as expressions of li 禮 “ritual”) do much of the same work for us, ethically, and this work not only expresses moral attitudes and commitments, but cultivates them as well. Accordingly, Confucian thinkers can help us to recognize how Stohr’s argument can be applied more broadly than etiquette, and how good manners both express and cultivate good character.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Subscribe and save

Springer+ Basic
EUR 32.99 /Month
  • Get 10 units per month
  • Download Article/Chapter or Ebook
  • 1 Unit = 1 Article or 1 Chapter
  • Cancel anytime
Subscribe now

Buy Now

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Similar content being viewed by others

References

  • Berkson, Mark. 2014. “Xunzi’s Reinterpretation of Ritual: A Hermeneutic Defense of the Confucian Way.” In Ritual and Religion in the Xunzi, edited by T. C. Kline III and Justin Tiwald. Albany: SUNY Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hutton, Eric L., trans. 2014. Xunzi: The Complete Text. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

  • ______. 2015. “Xunzi and Virtue Ethics.” In Routledge Companion to Virtue Ethics, edited byLorraine Besser-Jones and Michael Slote. New York: Routledge.

  • Ivanhoe, Philip J. 2000. Confucian Moral Self Cultivation, 2nd ed. Indianapolis: Hackett.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kralik, John. 2010. 365 Thank Yous: The Year a Simple Act of Daily Gratitude Changed My Life. New York: Hyperion.

    Google Scholar 

  • Lau, D. C. 劉殿爵, and Chen Fong Ching 陳方正, eds. 2006. A Concordance to the Lunyu 論語逐字索引. The Chinese University of Hong Kong Institute of Chinese Studies Ancient Chinese Texts Concordance Series. Hong Kong: The Commercial Press.

  • Stohr, Karen. 2012. On Manners. New York: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  • Van Norden, Bryan W. 2007. Virtue Ethics and Consequentialism in Early Chinese Philosophy. New York: Oxford University Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Watson, Burton, trans. 2007. The Analects of Confucius. New York: Columbia University Press.

  • Wilson, Stephen. 2002. “Conformity, Individuality, and the Nature of Virtue.” In Confucius and the Analects: New Essays, edited by Bryan W. Van Norden. New York: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Erin M. Cline.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Cline, E.M. The Boundaries of Manners: Ritual and Etiquette in Early Confucianism and Stohr’s On Manners . Dao 15, 241–255 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11712-016-9490-1

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11712-016-9490-1

Keywords

Navigation